California Gov. Gavin Newsom has named Laphonza Butler as the new senator to fill the seat left vacant following the passing of California Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Making the announcement on X, formerly known as Twitter, Newsom praised Butler’s dedication to advocating for women, girls, and working people.
Butler, who currently serves as the president of EMILYs List, an organization focused on electing Democratic women who support abortion rights, brings with her a wealth of experience. She also served as a senior campaign adviser to Kamala Harris during her 2020 presidential campaign and has a labor leadership background.
Newsom’s decision to appoint Butler is particularly significant as she will become the first openly Black lesbian to serve in the U.S. Senate, marking a historic moment for representation and inclusivity. Her appointment will also help reinforce the Democrats’ slim majority in the Senate as Congress continues working on long-term funding for the government.
Importantly, Butler’s appointment is not limited to a temporary position. This opens the door for her to potentially run for a full-term in 2024. However, California voters will first participate in a special election to choose a candidate to complete the remainder of Feinstein’s term.
The race for the 2024 election has already attracted the attention of several key figures, such as Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Adam Schiff, and Rep. Katie Porter, who have all declared their intentions to run. Whether Butler will throw her hat into the ring for the special election remains uncertain.
As the political landscape in California continues to evolve, Butler’s appointment brings hope for a more diverse and representative Senate. Her experience and commitment to progressive causes make her a formidable force and a candidate to watch in the coming months.
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